Saturday, November 22, 2014

SWAN festival putting arts on stage for family friendly Ottawa weekend

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 6/16/2014

Shawn Dickinson’s vision of a free summertime festival is on the verge of realization.

The inaugural SWAN Arts Festival is set to take over Ottawa’s downtown City Park, Fifth and Main streets, Thursday through Sunday. Wyatt Townley, the Poet Laureate of Kansas, will be featured at a festival kick-off event 7 p.m. Thursday at the Carnegie Cultural Center, 501 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Shawn Dickinson’s vision of a free summertime festival is on the verge of realization.

The inaugural SWAN Arts Festival is set to take over Ottawa’s downtown City Park, Fifth and Main streets, Thursday through Sunday. Wyatt Townley, the Poet Laureate of Kansas, will be featured at a festival kick-off event 7 p.m. Thursday at the Carnegie Cultural Center, 501 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Dickinson, director of the festival, said art demonstrations, from woodworking and edible art to ceramics and weaving, are scheduled throughout the weekend. More than 35 art booths, 15 craft booths and several food vendors will participate in the festival.

“The main goals of the SWAN Arts Festival are to highlight the quality art that is already being created in our region and to increase awareness of the arts by bringing new artists and art forms to the area,” Dickinson said. “It will be a family friendly summer festival, for both local enjoyment and to draw visitors to the community.”

Liverpool, a Kansas City-based Beatles cover band, is expected to headline the entertainment Friday night. The Grisly Hand, also based in Kansas City, is set to blend classic soul, folk, country and blues during the band’s performance Saturday night.

Other activities throughout the weekend will highlight Ottawa’s sesquicentennial celebration, including a community cookout 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. The festival is free, but tickets for the cookout are $7.50 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger in advance and are available at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, Ottawa Library, The Ottawa Herald, Price Chopper and Smoked Creations. They can be purchased online at www.ottawaherald.com/tickets. Tickets the day of the event will be $10.

Dickinson said 35 percent of the vendor booth fees will go toward arts education funding in the community.

“As arts funding continues to decrease at the state level, the importance of an arts festival becomes even more important,” Dickinson said. “We have some great art education in this region. What we want to do is help highlight some of the great art that is being created year-round and inspire a new generation of artists.”

Liverpool

The band many consider the greatest musical group of all-time, as well as the group who “started it all,” will reunite 7 p.m. Friday at the SWAN Arts Festival main stage, located in the southwest corner of City Park.

OK, maybe Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr won’t really be in Kansas anytime soon, but the Kansas City-based band Liverpool, a Beatles cover band, is expected entertain SWAN Arts Festival attendants with an extensive two set list performance. For those who wished they could have seen the legendary band, now is their opportunity, the band says.

“It may not be John, Paul, George and Ringo, but this is as close as you can get to a Beatles reunion,” Liverpool’s website said.

A strong love for The Beatles within the band and those who come to see Liverpool play is what inspired the band, Dave Tanner, who impersonates Paul McCartney, said. All the members — Dave Tanner as Paul McCartney, Larry Kips as John Lennon, Steve Davis as George Harrison and Gary Butler as Ringo Starr — have been performing Beatles music for several years.

“The music of The Beatles is universally loved, and that’s the true inspiration. It’s also fun to perform and gets a tremendous response,” Tanner said. “Even before Liverpool, the band members had performed Beatles music in their previous bands, folding those bands in 1990 to concentrate solely on the Beatles tribute. The inspiration and fan response is still there after 25 years of performing and has grown tremendously, in fact.”

Fans of The Beatles can expect a performance from Liverpool that spans the legendary band’s career.

“Concert goers can expect to be taken on a musical journey, with an extensive song list spanning the Fab Four’s amazing catalog,” Tanner said. “We have visuals, authentic costumes and vintage instruments that bring it all home.”

The Grisly Hand

What began as a joke turned into a full-length album for the band The Grisly Hands. The band is to perform at the SWAN Arts Festival main stage 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The six-piece Kansas City country band — Jimmy Fitzner, Lauren Krum, Johnny Nichols, Matt Richey, Mike Stover and Ben Summers — released its first album “Country Singles” in spring 2013. Krum, a vocalist, said the album was an homage to a magazine the band discovered and offered endless entertainment.

“Country Singles is actually the name of a paper that was distributed up until a couple years ago throughout the Midwest near truck and rest stops,” Krum said. “It was a singles paper with ads from prisoners, rural people and truckers and was pretty much endlessly fascinating and amusing. We chose the name [for the album] because of that and because we liked the idea of boldly declaring our record to be full of singles.”

The album consists of 12 country singles, but also could be defined as folk and sometimes rock and roll.

“I believe we fit into country but I also think we could be described many other ways,” Krum said. “Country music on the radio [today] is not really what I consider real country music.”

The band consists mainly of musicians from the Kansas City area and has focused on performing within the area.

“We are all pretty much Kansas City natives,” Krum said. “Mike Stover is originally from Joplin, Missouri, and Jimmy Fitzner was born in Chicago, Illinois. We have done some weekend trips to places like Chicago, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Lawrence, Kansas.”

Krum said the band’s performance is a good time and those interested should expect to be entertained.

“They can expect to have a good time and hear some real nice original songs with good harmonies and great players,” Krum said.

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